Rare Mekong Fish Out Of Danger

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
10 May 2007, at 1:00am

VIET NAM - Scientist Huynh Huu Ngai has helped one rare species of fish survive and boost its population in Cuu Long (Mekong) River.

"At this point, I can say that I have successfully managed to preserve the giant fish species," Ngai said, after more than two years of artificially breeding and raising ca ho, the giant barb (Catlocarpio siamensis).

Ngai has sent thousands of fingerlings and juvenile fish to farms in Mekong Delta provinces to rejuvenate the species' development. He has also retained several groups of juvenile and adult fish for further investigations at the Research Institute for Aquaculture No 2 in Tien Giang Province.

Ngai's work is a part of a series of national and international programmes to protect precious indigenous Mekong fish species against the fast degradation caused by overfishing and the intrusion of economic development along the river. The river is a vital resource for more than 40 million people in the Lower Mekong Basin and the giant barb has to share the water with the growing populations of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.


Ngai's boss, Dr Pham Van Khanh, director of the Centre for Aquaculture of the Southern Freshwater Species, says that the centre has been working on protecting the genes of some 20 precious fish species identified as having high cash values or facing extinction.

Since the early 1990s, these species have been protected both through frozen eggs and sperm to preserve their DNA and through national parks, ponds and fishing farms, as part of national preservation programmes.

A project of domesticating and artificially breeding selected freshwater fish species is also aiming to provide juvenile fish to farmers, both to develop the species and support the farmers.

Khanh said the programmes and projects carried out at the centre are receiving support and cooperation from international institutions and organisations. They include the Mekong River Commission (MRC) and DANIDA, a branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark that provides humanitarian assistance to developing countries.